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Being suspicious in the workplace: the role of suspicion and negative views of others in the workplace in the perception of abusive supervision

Birgit Schyns (Department of People and Organizations, NEOMA Business School, Campus Reims, Reims, France)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 6 April 2021

Issue publication date: 2 June 2021

333

Abstract

Purpose

Research reported in this manuscript focuses on the relationship between trait suspicion and the perception of abusive supervision. Based on previous research, the authors assume that suspicion is positively related to the perception of abusive supervision. The role implicit theories play in this relationship is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies are presented to examine the relationship between trait suspicion and the perception of abusive supervision as moderated by implicit leadership theories. The first study is a survey study, and the second study is an experimental vignette study.

Findings

Results of both studies indicate that suspicion is positively related to the perception of abusive supervision and that implicit leadership theories moderate the relationship between suspicion and the perception of abusive supervision.

Research limitations/implications

Results are interpreted in terms of biases in leadership perception as well as the reversing-the-lens perspective.

Originality/value

While there is progress in taking into account follower characteristics and the resulting perceptual biases in the study of constructive leadership phenomena such as transformational leadership, less is know about the follower perception aspect of destructive leadership phenomena. With this research, the authors extend research into the influence of follower characteristics on the perception of abusive supervision and also look at boundary conditions of this relationship by including implicit leadership theories as a moderator.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Daniel May and Joerg Felfe for their helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript.

Citation

Schyns, B. (2021), "Being suspicious in the workplace: the role of suspicion and negative views of others in the workplace in the perception of abusive supervision", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 617-629. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-06-2020-0242

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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